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  • MCG Quantity Surveyors has outlined five moves property investors can make to deliver a tax time cashback
  • Higher interest rates and cost of living are why investors should
  • A depreciation schedule is paramount

In light of the cost-of-living crisis, national firm MCG Quantity Surveyors has identified five moves property investors can make in order to deliver a cashback tax boost.

MCG managing director Mike Mortlock said these five tasks could help investors ease their hip-pocket while improving the value of their property.

“If property investors were intending to carry out some of these actions on their investment, but hadn’t got around to doing them yet, my suggestion is that they tackle them immediately,” said Mr Mortlock.

“Making these easy moves now will maximise your tax return – a much-needed boost given challenges around the rising cost of living.”

Mr Mortlock signalled out that increased interest rates, rising cost of living pressures and higher construction costs are the reasons why investors should be savvier about their end-of-year financials.

“Our research shows investors are becoming more prudent about their financial arrangements, and their level of engagement is only set to ramp up as fiscal pressures force us all to look at ways of maximising our bank balances,” he said.

5 investment property tax boosters to beat the rising cost of living

1. Tackling niggling repairs and maintenance

Mr Mortlock said investors could carry out small repairs and maintenance and claim immediately.

“Our company’s most recent 1000 Assets report shows around one-third of all investment properties receive post-purchase renovation work, with an average spend of around $25,000 to $30,000 per property.”

Mr Mortlock added even small works could deliver a benefit.

“I’m talking about those minor works you’ve been putting off. Any repair – no matter how small – allows you to claim the cost of materials used to tackle it.

“Also, labour costs are claimable if you use a contractor.

“Works can include landscaping – something that landlords may be able to carry out themselves with the tenant’s permission. You also get to claim for costs incurred on pruning, cleaning, gardening and lawn mowing.

“Now is the time to act because any costs you incur in June are 100 per cent tax deductable in July. Miss this window of opportunity and you’ll be waiting another year to get the benefit.”

2. Pay loan interest in advance

If you can pay your loan interest in advance, you should do some, said Mr Mortlock.

“Aussies have managed to boost their saving throughout the pandemic with increases in their offset accounts and savings.

“I’d suggest devoting some of that treasure chest toward pre-paying your interest bill for the coming year. The sum you pay is immediately claimable against your 2020/21 tax return.”

Although this move wouldn’t render you immune from further interest rate rises, it will boost your position amid tax time.

“Interest rate rises seem inevitable this year. However, if you have the means, prepaying a bigger chunk now will give you room to deal with increases as the year progresses, while boosting your tax return immediately.”

“Also, if you’ve redrawn equity from your investment property’s loan, make certain those funds have been used for investment purposes, or the ATO will take you to task.”

3. Get a depreciation schedule

Depreciation schedules that are prepared by qualified professionals assign strongly advantageous tax-deductible depreciation to a property’s fittings, fixtures and finishes.

“If you haven’t already organised for a depreciation schedule, then get onto it today,” urged Mr Mortlock.

“Fortunately, investors are becoming more aware of their advantages. Our most recent 1000 Assets report revealed the amount of time between settlement and ordering a schedule fell to around eight months in 2022 – more than half the time it was in 2016.

“For just a few hundred dollars a deprecation schedule can deliver thousands back to the landlords. That’s an incredible return on investment.”

4. Purchase items for your property

While this may sound counter initiative, having items installed by the end of the year are deductible – as long as it contributes to the rent return.

“Look to purchase items that are either free standing or can be quickly installed.

“Maybe it’s a matter of selecting some light fittings or blinds this weekend and getting then in place. “You could choose rugs or even pay in advance for tiles and carpet.

“You could also purchase things like pot plants and other garden ornaments, or freestanding lamps, appliances such as a new chest freezer. All things that will be used by the tenant, help boost the rent and can be deductible.

“Also, if you install items worth $300 or less, such as a ceiling fan, you can claim that total cost on your tax return.

“Finally – if you can fit it in time, consider installing equipment priced under $1000 as some deduction rules make this type of outlay late in the financial year extremely lucrative in terms of tax.”

5. Contact your advisors

Lastly, Mr Mortlock suggested to check in with property advisors before the months end.

Property managers must keep a tally of deductible repairs and upgrades, he said, as part of their annual rental statement.

“In addition, your property manager will provide advice on works they can coordinate in the coming week or so to help improve your deductions by year’s end.”

“Don’t forget to include those professional costs as part of your tax return this year,” he concluded.

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Before making any investment decisions, please do your own independent research, taking into account your own situation. This article does not purport to provide financial, legal or investment advice. See our Terms of Use.

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